Leading with Love: Mayor Garcetti Heals the City of Angels

It’s hard to feel energetic in the mornings knowing people are getting sick. Our lives are disrupted. It’s spring but we must stay home. Besides cooking, exercising and checking in with friends all over the world, I’ve found some comfort in my new hometown. These days, Mayor Garcetti’s five o’clock briefing is uplift hour at my house. That’s when I turn on KPCC and listen to Mayor Eric Garcetti‘s update.

When Mayor Garcetti speaks, I know this is what compassion is. In the middle of the most confusing time of our lives, a global pandemic that few expected and fewer understand, when violence has grown intimate and our national leadership has flagged, Garcetti is solving homelessness in order to save as many people as possible. His message to “Stay at home” comes with the energy and commitment to galvanize LA city residents to protect the lives of some of the most vulnerable people among us.

Mayor Garcetti easily slips into my portfolio of heroes: People like Harriet Tubman, Dr. King, Jesus, John Brown and Ernestine Rose. I don’t have a problem including him on my list. I want someone to imitate. I need to believe in goodness at a time like this. Here is a man talking about CoronaVirus and using words like, “us,” “we” and “love” to talk about what’s a stake and what we must do to heal and stay safe. He urges us to engage with our best efforts and most positive outlook while providing concrete guidelines for behavior that mitigates risk to our families. He reminds us to stay home, take care of each other and advises us on what the city is doing to curtail the spread of COVID-19. Hearing him is healing my heart.

“LA Love” is a theme I can get behind, especially when it comes with direct action. When he tells us about getting manufacturers to make masks for public workers, or sadly explains why our beaches are closed or how new regulations will be implemented, it’s full of hope. He’s even raising money for locals who are unable to work or need extended shelter until the danger passes. Garcetti emphasizes the unity of Angelenos and is raising money for people who may need help.

I’m grateful for Mayor Garcetti’s leadership at this time. It reminds me to be still and step up when I can. We can all use some hope these days.

YAT, R.5: Eggs and Greens

Hope that you’re able to get some exercise at home, friends. When I wake up feeling sad or depressed, both inevitable in the midst of this pandemic, I try to do ten burpees. If you feel ridiculous, fall down or laugh at yourself, you’ve done it right! People are getting sick, but we still deserve to thrive and be healthy. Give yourself permission to shed whatever you can.

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That brings us to our next yummy-at-home recipe. This one’s Hal’s, the egg master at our house. It’s quick and easy and super delicious for breakfast, lunch or dinner. Cook and prep time about 15-20 minutes. Add one or two eggs per adult. Substitute egg-whites for a low-cholesterol alternative or scrabbled tofu for a vegan option.

Saute garlic with thinly sliced poblano, red or yellow peppers for 3-5 minutes. Wash and strip your greens. We used dinosaur kale but collards or curly kale will also be fine. Add to peppers and garlic and cook until tender about 3 minutes. Start the toast.

Take your eggs or egg substitute and add Colby or cheddar cheese. We also added hot-smoked salmon to the eggs. Warm the pan and add your scrambled egg mix to the protein. Stir constantly until eggs are firm and cheese melts. Serve hot with all your favorite fixings.

Why I’m Staying Home

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Coronavirus is nothing I want to play with. I’m giving it a pass altogether. I remember watching Star Trek as a girl and seeing them analyze compounds with their Tricorders and read engineering reports on their mini-computer pads. Sound familiar? Way right. Everybody I know has one now. That’s why I’m scared of this virus. Every respectable Sci-Fi prophet has predicted our total decimation by disease, mostly viral.

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I’m not laughing. I’m staying home. This a global pandemic.

What makes my decision to self-isolate easy is how susceptible I am to illness–basically, I have a lot of ACEs. From my breached-birth trauma through adult-Black-woman trauma, I’m on that list of compromised individuals. I’ve gotten sick from just riding the BART in San Francisco. I hosted Strep Throat and earaches for most of childhood and adolescence. Coronavirus is looking for someone like me. This is serious. I’m not going out.

It terrifies me to think of all the people who haven’t been vaccinated for anything, waiting to cook up a fresh mutation with their virgin immunity. All I see is a sinister weapon unleashed by Mother Earth to spank our asses for our careless negligence; she deploys a handful of crowned-halo beads who scurry off with the voice and words of Smeagol: “Give it to me raw.”

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Those of us undergoing immunosuppression, transplants, poor health (hypertension, obesity), and/or recent hospitalization are likely to be susceptible to COVID19. If you have a loved one in any of these categories or even grandparents, you can carry it to them with along with all of your best intentions—all with nothing more than a mild temperature to show for your contribution.

Don’t be the one to open the door to this fast-moving virus. Take these simple precautions:

        • If someone needs help, drop it off at their door.
        • Wash your hands as soon as you walk into your home.
        • Don’t hug or shake hands for a few weeks.
        • Vaporize beneficial essential oils.

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Let’s live to tell the story. Stay in tonight.

 

 

Faces of Facebook (A 2018 Photo Essay)

 

ABC: Alana G., Contingent Worker: Line Cook; Alejandro, Global Security; Amel F., Reception Associate; Amy H., VP Global Learning and Development; Andrew N., Data Science; Andrew, Line Cook; Arthur F., Line Cook; BJ P., Graphic Design; Bahar Z., Data Science; Becca T., Data Science; Ben C., Global Security Executive Services; Brandy, Shuttle Driver; Buddy G., Contingent Worker: Graphic Design; Carlos, Bus Driver; Carmen, Data Science; Christina, Shuttle Driver; Christopher H., Logistics; Cindy C., Marketing Manager; Claire H., Data Science; Corey, Line Cook

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D-I: Dana M., Technical Platform Manager; Daniela R., Global Security; David H., Data Science Manager; Deliah S., Front House Manager; Erica, Outsourced; Esmeralda H., Housekeeping; Ester, Housekeeping; Elma, Reception Associate; Fern D., Shuttle Driver; Gabby, Housekeeping; Hari S., Data Science; Heather, Data Science; Ivan, Housekeeping

 

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JKL: Jason P., Software Engineer; Johana V., Front House; Joshua L., Help Desk Specialist; Juan Carlos P., Line Cook; Julia C., Data Science; Justin B., Data Science; Kamille V., Executive Assistant; Kedra G., Contingent Worker: Global Security; Krystal SJ, Data Science Manager; Leslie, Front House; Lisette, Front House

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MNO: Manjyot S., Manager Tech Platforms; Marlon, Hospitality; Maria A., Housekeeping; Mark L., Strategic Partner Development; Marten; Martchel, Bus Driver; Mego T., Ergonomics; Miao Y., Data Science; Michael H., Help Desk Specialist; Michael S., Data Science; Mike V., Contingent Worker: Global Security; Miguel, Housekeeping; Mingnan L., Data Science; Nadine R., Operations Program Manager; Neha K., Tech Platforms Manager; Nica W., Contingent Worker: Housekeeping; Nicole G., Technical Platform Manager; Nicole, Employment Legal

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P-Z: Rachel H., Marketing Manager;Rafael L., Global Security; Ray L., Global Security; Robert J., Director, Sales Compensation; Rodrigo C., Reception Associate; Roxana C., Front House; Ryan, Transportation support; Sandy, Data Science; Shawanda W., Sourcer; Sze Wai, Data Science; Tim G., Shuttle Driver; Warren K., Data Science; Yulia D., Marketing Manager; Yulia I., Contingent Worker: Data Engineer

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Let the Children Be Heard: Advice on Communicating with Children

I’m always looking for a way to strengthen my relationships with young people. More than anyone in society, children are vulnerable. They need love and support to thrive. They need to be listened to and heard to grow confident in their abilities. I work to give them everything they need. Everything I never had as a child—a protectress, an advocate, a joyful ally. I’m not afraid to be fierce for them, to stand up for their rights and defend them against unjust behavior. I would rather take the burden of pain on for myself than let them face a brutal world alone.

Too many children fall prey to the very people who are entrusted with their care. Whether these children are athletes, students or family, we owe them a debt if they have been harmed under our care. Predators get away with abuse because children  fear that they won’t be listened to or heard, and that no one will intervene on their behalf. Sadly, there is endless evidence of predation against innocent children. The Me Too movement draws attention to the numerous examples of professional women encountering sexual abuse and harassment, or worse, in the workplace. Yet movements like Me Too should ideally harness the energy of visibility to prevent further attacks on women and children. This is an important moment in history to work toward accountability in our society. Without individual accountability, we cannot change the outcomes and experiences of women or children, which we are now the focus national attention. It is simply not enough to look backward. We must demand accountability in the present moment as much as we seek accountability for past deeds.

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“Mei Mei” painting by Christina Xu for Living Artist Project

The problem of abuse is more real than some of us care to admit. Children train in school to survive lethal gun attacks. They make few decisions regarding their own futures, and like women, are seldom believed. In that context, the least we can do is let them know that adults hear and respect their needs, their wants and their wishes—that even their dreams are sacred. Children deserve to have physical, emotional and psychological support and protection, and not solely after the fact.

It is up to women like me to act up on the behalf of children, to make sure history does not repeat itself. It is up to adults—every teacher, parent, uncle and grandparent, who cares to take up the slack. We must listen to children before there is a problem. We must be a person that a child will turn to for help and support. We have to give them grounds for the courage to speak up and tell the truth. We have to interrupt the violence and abuse perpetrated on others and ourselves as children witness. We can model behavior as we protect the future generation. No one gets a pass. We are all accountable. You may be asking yourself, “Where do I start?”

We can start by simply reading a book that gives us real, practical tools for working with and listening to young people. Below you will find a few gems gleaned from Adele Faber and Elaine Mazlish’s book, How to Talk So Kids Will Listen & Listen So Kids Will Talk. Start here, and read their treasure to learn more about how to be an ally to young people.

The following are excerpts from How to Talk So Kids Will Listen & Listen So Kids Will Talk by Adele Faber and Elaine Mazlish.

4 Ways to Help a Child with Their Feelings:

1. Listen quietly and attentively. 2. Acknowledge and accept their feelings with a word or sound. 3.Give their feelings a name. 4.Give them their wishes in fantasy form.

 

5 Steps to Engage a Child’s Cooperation:

1. Describe what you see or describe the problem. 2. Give information. 3. Say it with a word. 4. Describe what you feel. 5. Write a note.

 

6 Ways to Encourage Autonomy:

1. Let children make choices. 2. Show respect for a child’s struggle. 3. Don’t ask too many questions. 4. Don’t rush to answer questions. 5. Encourage them to use sources outside the home. (**Topic dependent. Use wisdom.) 6. Don’t take away hope.

 

Instead of Saying “N0”: 

Give the facts. Accept their feelings. Describe the problem.  Give yourself time to think.

 

Use Praise to Raise Self-Esteem:

Describe what you see without judgment. Describe your feelings in response to behavior. Sum up the child’s praiseworthy behavior in one word.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Hero Worship for Activists: “A Conversation with Anita Hill”

I am a woman of many heroes, men and women of character, substance and integrity. I admire and emulate them. It is in my nature to seek out traits such as fortitude and compassion in my community. My list of heroes is long and not limited by perimeters such as distance, time, gender or race, for although I idealize simple attributes; these principles are not easy to live by. My heroes are people whose actions demonstrate superior courage and discernment, people whose lives are exemplary because of their persistent vision to transform society for the better. When I experience difficulty, I look to my heroes for the strength required to endure and stand in the face of oppression and to carry on with my work. Today I honor Dr. Anita Hill, who rises into the foreground of my legion of inspiring soldiers.

Like many, I have been asked with whom I would dine given a choice. In the process of pursuing my formal education, I have written many essays on the topic. I have photos of my heroes around my home, reminders of my highest ideals. I draw courage from these immortal mortals. To me, even the dead ones are alive. But I have shaken her hand. I put my arm around the honorable and steadfast, Dr. Anita Hill, Esquire. Dr. Hill did not disappoint. She was everything I had imagined and witnessed beginning in 1991 when she faced the entire US Senate for the Supreme Court confirmation hearings. She testified about the former direct superior, who systematically sexually harassed her in the course of the workday.

This was a pivotal moment in women’s history. I was riveted to the TV, watching the testimony with millions of people. It was a formative experience to witness another highly intelligent black woman, stand in truth while powerful men attempted to revise, denounce and silence her. She was a courageous older sister, leading the way. For me, she was no less than a Joan of Arc. Her poise was monumental, her eloquence, sanguine. Dr. Hill, spoke of what other women have waited a decades to discuss. She demanded accountability, whether or not it was granted is irrelevant.

As movements like Black Lives Matter and Me Too gain momentum, it helps to recognize the warriors that have established a pathway to transforming society. There is strength in numbers. There is power in speaking when the world attempts to silence, to act when society coerces submission. Witness the lives of Audre Lorde, Dr. King and John Brown. They all knew this. Anita Hill knows it, still.

The legacy of people like Dr. Hill creates a bridge that reinforces and delineates the struggles of women and people of color in society. Their work illustrates that We are not alone. The reveal that we are not the first to endure, to resist or to speak truth to those with power and authority. When we work to create a just society, we walk in the footsteps of these giants.

Recognizing that Dr. Hill is capable of telling her own story, I share those of her ideas that address the ways in which we can harness the efforts of our predecessors to affect lasting change. According to Dr. Hill, by recognizing and always mentioning two or more factors like race, gender, age and class allows us to see the invisible intersectionality any issue. There are layered issues impacting an individual grappling with harassment, discrimination or systemic oppression. By acknowledging the overlapping nature of these experiences we begin to address the true work required to transform society into a just system in which all people can thrive. It is time, according to Hill, to modify our conversations about sex to include intent, consent and expectations. I agree, and I also see this as one of the biggest hurdles to change, since so many people are afraid to have candid conversations about their needs, desires and expectations in general. Women, in particular, often have difficulty negotiating salaries, speaking up in meetings and setting boundaries in their personal lives. We are simply not taught to assert ourselves in these ways.

Yet, we must engage in this reform work if we are to give our sons and daughters the tools they need to grow into accomplished and confident citizens. We must learn and teach each other that no one has the right to abuse another person, regardless of their legal status, educational level or gender. It matters little what form the abuse takes. We need to have a zero tolerance for abuse, for inflicting it on others, for allowing it to be enacted with impunity. We must hold uncompromising standards that permit all people to thrive—whether they are children, elders, women or under our direct supervision.

No one has the right to abuse another person.

Beyond being enamored with the image and ideal of Dr. Hill, she is actually a woman of true substance. Her personal achievements and education make her a paragon for anyone in need of a hero. It is no small feat to persist for a lifetime when men insist upon your silence—when society attempts to enforce a standard smallness and mediocrity. Anita Hill moves beyond these projections into the space of the warrior, where she stands as a paladin for truth and light. When I introduced myself to Dr. Anita Hill at Autodesk for the Level Playing Field Institute fundraiser, she admonished me to pay my gifts forward to the next generation. I assured her that I am. I have been. I will.

This is what it is like to meet one’s hero: She charges you with the highest expectations possible.

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Dr. Guadamuz and Dr. Anita Hill at Autodesk March 9, 2018  at a Fundraiser for                            Level Playing Field Institute

 

25 Reasons to Make 2018 My Year to Loss 25 Pounds: 1, That Little Girl

My first reason for wanting to loss weight this year is so obvious that I almost missed it. The truth is, I have so many important people in my life, so many goals, dreams and commitments that 25 is an easy mark. Realizing that truth is the very thing that brought me back to the foundation of the work to transform my life. I’ve decided to begin this journey in community, because I know that together, we can achieve anything. And, if along the way you want to join me for your own reasons, I’ll be here for you.

 

There is a picture on my desk taken when I was about six or seven. In the photograph, I have a fine row of tiny, white Tic Tac-sized baby teeth. This is my little girl, the exuberant indomitable inner child personified. I see her as both a historical obligation to correct the generational trauma I’ve inherited as a descendant of the black-Latina-African diaspora and a joyful ward under my protection. It is my prevailing duty to see and care for the precious child, to treasure her as my dearest child. This I do for my own healing and for that of future generations that will be transformed by this act of mindfulness.

 

In the moment captured in the photograph, I am happy, healthy and glowing. That is why I’m beginning my quest for health by retracing my steps, remembering what I’ve forgotten, and unearthing my buried treasures. I’ve come back to this particular innocent child to give her the life she deserves. She is my first reason for losing 25 pounds this year.

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Can Major Tech Companies Provide Vital Humanitarian Social Services?

Big tech companies should be among the first respondents to help save lives touched by disaster. Tune in to any news or media channel and you’ll be inundated by news of human suffering. There’s no shortage of people in need of help from both chronic and emergency situations including natural and unnatural disasters. It’s time for Big Tech to step up on the humanitarian aspects of their responsibilities since they possess massive potential to do real good through social-media services. Tech Companies have long profited from trending products and software and by making millionaires from user experiences. Up until now only a few, like Facebook Check-In feature in 2010, have done so purely for the benefit of its users. From wearable gear to self-tracking devices, the technology already exists. It just needs to be repurposed to add value during difficult times. The next disaster is just around the corner.

 

IMG_20170221_0003Here’s what’s at stake for ordinary people: So far, the Tubbs and Nuns fires have displaced hundreds of people. After multiple hurricanes devastated Puerto Rico’s citizens, few of the victims were able to communicate with family on the mainland or get clean water and food. The recent mass shooting in Las Vegas had people from all over the country looking for loved ones who were unreachable after the massacre made headlines. Plus, for a slightly more mundane social problem than the past few weeks of hurricanes, shootings and earthquakes, chronic homelessness and drug use bring their own arsenals of concern.

 

It’s time for technology-based businesses to concern themselves with how ordinary people—tech users, who purchase their products—fare in life when catastrophe strikes. The best part is that these transitions could be relatively easy for these companies who already collect tons of data on us. Here are the key problems in need of #tech solutions:

  • Homelessness/displacement exacerbated by disaster
  • Clean water and food shortages
  • Shelter: places to sleep and safely store possessions and valuables
  • Services and facilities for bathing and laundry
  • Safety alerts and information about the location and health status of loved ones

Big tech has the capacity to solve these problems quickly. What the world needs is some tweaking of these great tech products to make sure users and their communities benefit from their brand loyalty. As an added bonus for these tech companies, emergency features can make their products go-to resources integral to people’s lives. That’s a lot of stockholder returns over time, making these ideas worth the time and investment for social-media companies. It’s time for real, practical and fairly simple ways for the big companies and some smaller ones with big hearts and human-capital bandwidth to step up and help society deal with the fall out from inevitable calamity. The capacity for people to help each other without opening their wallets is, thus far, untapped.

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Hope by Jason Reyes for Living Artist Project // IG: @heyjayrey
  • Airbnb is already set up to help subscribers find and use homes and other tourist services on demand. There’s room to link disaster victims with resources such as showers, laundry services and temporary camping spots or supplies. These features could be activated at all times or regionally triggered in response to specific emergency situations. As of Oct. 16th Airbnb sent out a notification that they’d allow hosts to invite guest for free in response to fires in Northern California. Kudos to Airbnb.
  • Twitter may have the capacity to identify users’ geographical location to determine if a person is a danger zone. They can provide data based on user activity to help respondents locate populated or isolated areas in need of special attention. Water and food deliveries could be targeted to those areas.
  • Fitbit knows how fast users are moving, and most likely, their location at any time the device is worn. These fitness bits have the capacity to report emergency situations to designated family members or authorities quickly. The potential for Fitbit to detect vital signs of its users and emit a signal that can be picked up by rescue workers during an emergency is great. Just as these awesome gadgets allow for networking for health reasons, why shouldn’t they alert designated people to things like whereabouts and health? Users would be more likely to keep devices charged and on hand if they knew it could help during an emergency.
  • Google has the ability to track all kinds of activity. I can’t help wondering whether Google can program their search engines to see when area is under duress from seismic activity or extreme heat and, thereby, provide an early warning to residents and save lives.
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“Yin Yang” by Kristine Moore for Living Artist Project // KMooreart.com

We can have a better place to live because of technology. No one is better at finding solutions to marketing, network growth and pleasing the stockholders than today’s biggest tech companies. This concept is about employing those same tech resources to helping millions of users with simple modifications that could ensure survivors of disasters never feel abandoned by society. What’s next? I foresee a future where tech companies partner with non-profits and government organizations to provide fast, direct responses to critical questions of survival in the shortest amount of time. Since we’re not yet living on the moon, we can at least try to make the earth a more hospitable place for humankind.